In the final sprint to US Election Day this Tuesday, surveys show the end might be near for US President Donald Trump as a “post turtle.”
But what on earth is a post turtle? Those puzzled by what it means could get an idea from old farmers in rural America.
“When you’re driving down a country road and you come across fence posts with a turtle balanced on top of one of the posts, that’s a post turtle,” they say. “You know the turtle didn’t get up there by himself, he doesn’t belong up there, he doesn’t know what to do while on top of the post, and you just wonder what kind of dumb idiot put him up there.”
That Trump does not belong up there, occupying the highest post in America as the most powerful man in the world with access to nuclear weapons that can destroy the planet in an instant, is clear in the minds of his critics.
Even his supporters who catapulted Trump to power four years ago now have serious doubts on his leadership abilities. Some say they regret having shattered the hopes of voters, including many Filipino Americans, to see Hillary Clinton as the first woman ever to break the ultimate glass ceiling and rise to the pinnacle of power.
Trump’s apparent failure of leadership is astounding in the US response to the coronavirus pandemic that already claimed close to 230,000 American lives in a country with around 9 million cases, the most in the world.
In describing Trump’s work style, former President Barack Obama recently said: “You’ve got a President right now, he wants full credit for an economy that he inherited, he wants zero blame for the pandemic he ignored. The job doesn’t work that way. You’ve got to be responsible 24/7…Tweeting doesn’t fix things. Watching TV all day doesn’t fix things. Making stuff up doesn’t fix things.”
Making stuff up – which eventually ignited for Trump the tag as “America’s “crazy uncle” – is something Trump seems prone to in his tweets to distract and divert attention away from issues.
“You’re the president. You’re not, like, someone’s crazy uncle who can just retweet whatever,” NBC anchor Savannah Guthrie said in response to what Trump, in defending why he tweets unverified stuff, said: “That was a retweet, I’ll put it out there. People can decide for themselves.”
Guthrie’s spewed out the memorable “crazy uncle” line at an Oct. 15 town hall meeting as she challenged the president’s incredible social media posts that included a conspiracy theory alleging Osama bin Laden is still alive and that former US vice-president Joe Biden and Obama “may have had Seal Team 6 killed” and other stuff.
But Trump’s unbreakable habit of playing loose with the truth isn’t surprising. Fact checkers from The Washington Post tracking Trump’s dishonesty have clocked up more than 20,000 misleading and false claims since his 2016 inauguration when the falsehoods started with his insistence that more people attended his inaugural than that of Obama.
To get an inkling of Trump’s character, one has to grasp the insights of retired Marine Gen. John Kelly, who worked as White House chief of staff and, thus, knew Trump well.
“The depths of his dishonesty is just astounding to me. The dishonesty, the transactional nature of every relationship… it’s more pathetic than anything else. He is the most flawed person I have ever met in my life,” Kelly said about Trump in published reports.
“He can’t fathom the idea of doing something for someone other than himself,” another retired general said in an article in The Atlantic which cited four anonymous sources who claimed Trump “repeatedly mocked US soldiers killed in battle and skipped a visit to a veterans’ cemetery in France out of concern that rainy conditions would mess up his carefully coiffed hair.”
“He just thinks that anyone who does anything when there’s no direct personal gain to be had is a sucker,” the general said in the bombshell article. “Trump can’t imagine anyone else’s pain. That’s why he would say this to the father of a fallen marine on Memorial Day in the cemetery where he’s buried.” (To be continued)
POSTSCRIPT: My deepest condolence to my friend, Manila Mayor Isko Moreno. May God grant eternal peace to your dearly departed mother, Nanay Chayong, who surely was so proud of you — not only for your achievements, but for your being a good son!
Congratulations to my brod-in-law, Associate Justice Ricardo R. Rosario, for your recent appointment to the Supreme Court. May God grant you continued wisdom and strength of character to serve the ends of justice in our country where injustice corrodes the faith of Filipinos in the judicial system.